How to Manage Your Pipeline

How is your pipeline structured?

I assume most of you have heard about the sales pipeline. Your pipeline is what keeps your business going. It is a lot like a funnel: at the large end, you need to do lots of activities that will generate a slew of interested contacts; some of these move down the funnel and become coached; of these, a few get qualified, and even fewer go on to be selected and finally closed. Once you have a customer, the tendency is to spend your time at that end of the funnel fulfilling the work. When the job is done, you turn around and there is no more work waiting; you go back to the other end of the funnel and start all over.

The important lesson here is that you need to keep a balance within your pipeline so that you do not run out of clients at the end of the day. Have you ever been in a situation where you were working with one client that took up enormous amounts of your time and you had no time to do your marketing activities? And the client without warning cancelled the project and you were left without any work and nothing in the pipeline? This is the worst thing that can happen to a business. You should always have Plan B and Plan C and Plan D, etc., in the wings at all times.

There are several stages in the pipeline but you must remember to work on it to keep things flowing through. If you get a customer that tends to eat all your time, make sure the client understands that you must take one day or half a day every week to work on your own marketing efforts. You can suggest that they extend the project over a longer period of time so that your needs are also met. You will find that most clients want their project as a first priority and that you will need to schedule your time around your own marketing activities. The important thing to remember is that you must always fill the pipeline.

Your efforts to fill the pipeline while being tied up in other projects may seem difficult but you will find that a number of networking opportunities are either held early in the morning or in the evening. Some events are held at the lunch hour. Take advantage of this and set new client meetings around meal times. Don't let your business dry up; always work towards finding other relationships that can lead to future projects.

Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://www.BlueprintBooks.com

In The News:

Small Business Hiring Slows  The Wall Street Journal

How to Use Graphs and Charts in Your Business Plan

Many people ask how many graphs or charts they should... Read More

How to Start Home Based Travel Businesses

Home based travel businesses are no longer the wave of... Read More

Advertising - For Small Businesses (Part 1)

Is it right for you?If you decide to advertise your... Read More

Environmental Boat Washing and Detailing

Some marine biologists feel that the concentration of dead marine... Read More

Business Reviews that Work

What is the satisfaction & expectation review of the business... Read More

Recognizing Employees? Contributions Can Go a Long Way

Every employee would like to earn as high a salary... Read More

Routine Maintenance of High Pressure Hot Water Motors

If you run a pressure washer business you need complete... Read More

Window Cleaning Business Future Challenge With Self Cleaning Glass

Self-cleaning glass has been talked about a lot, with such... Read More

Postcard Marketing ? Low Cost Visibility

You need to be visible to attract customers, right? But... Read More

Pressure Washing at Golf Courses

There are many potential niches for pressure washing companies that... Read More

How Do I Choose The Right Business Opportunity For Me?

First you have to start with knowing your budget and... Read More

Who Makes the BEST Business Partner

How do you find the best business partners?Finding a good... Read More

Becoming Recession Proof

A lot of business owners I've spoken with lately have... Read More

Designing a Franchise Training Program

If you intend to franchise your company you will need... Read More

What Your Small Business Can Learn From The Doctor

Most doctors never distinguish the difference between customers and patients.... Read More

Outsourcing and Virtual Assistants: Small Business Saviors

Work smarter, not harderWhat is one of the best ways... Read More

Low Cost or Highly Funded Start Up

Many new ventures are preoccupied with all the money they... Read More

Three Ways to Add Leverage to Your Small Business

Remember those drawings from science class of how a lever... Read More

Five Facts and One Motivating Factor Behind a Successful Home Business

All legitimate home business entrepreneurs insist and announce loud and... Read More

Power Tools for Business

How do we keep track of our business deals?If you... Read More

New Habits, Rebounding Economy Help To Sell Giftware and Collectibles

Just a few years ago, when one thought of a... Read More

Small Business Newsletter Dilemma: Which Day Do I Send?

If you're just ramping up your small business email newsletter,... Read More

How to Avoid the Most Common Reasons for Small Business Failure

The life cycle of the typical small business is short... Read More

Small Business Marketing Series ? Choosing a Niche Market

Many smaller businesses choose niche markets for various reasons and... Read More

Electronic Franchise Disclosure and E-Signature Future for Investors

It has been discussed allowing Franchising companies to electronically disclose... Read More